This Friday’s Fresno State at Boise State game doesn’t profile as the regular season version of the Mountain West Conference championship game like it did last season. Boise State has a loss to Air Force on its conference resume and Fresno State lost to UNLV last weekend. Despite the ugly losses, these two teams should win their respective divisions when all is said and done. The Broncos host the Bulldogs on the blue turf in Boise in front of a national TV audience on Friday night.
Fresno State vs. Boise State College Football Preview
Date/Time: Friday October 17, 8:00 p.m. ET
College Football Betting Odds from WagerWeb
College Football Betting Favorite: Boise State -17
Both teams enter Friday night’s matchup with 2-1 records in conference play, but the one loss is certainly an awful one for both teams. The Bulldogs have beaten San Diego State and New Mexico with a loss to UNLV and the Broncos have beaten Nevada and Colorado State with a loss to Air Force. After Tim DeRuyter started his career 11-2 against the number, the Bulldogs are just 7-12-1 ATS in their last 20 games. Bryan Harsin is 4-2 straight up and ATS in his first season with Boise State.
Fresno State Bulldogs:
It’s been a tale of two seasons for the Bulldogs. They opened 0-3 and gave up 166 points to Utah, Nebraska, and USC. Once the level of competition dropped off, the Bulldogs rattled off three straight victories and allowed just 53 points. Last Friday’s loss to UNLV was particularly disappointing given how UNLV has played and the competition they’ve done it against. As a result, the line has moved to -17 after opening -14.5 or 15. There are a lot of problems for the Bulldogs, but one of the biggest is that they don’t have anybody to help Josh Harper. Harper, the leading returning wide receiver, has 47 catches for 637 yards. No other receiver has more than 17 catches. Only running back Marteze Waller has more with 18. The Bulldogs passed the ball 62 percent of the time last season. This season, they’ve run only 11 more passing plays than runs. It’s tough to gauge the defense given the overwhelming opponents they faced in Weeks 1 through 3, but giving up 30 points and 478 yards to UNLV is not good.
Boise State Broncos:
The Boise State Broncos are a tough team to figure out this season. They were held to 14 points by Air Force and 13 points by Ole Miss in the season opener, but they’ve scored at least 34 points in each of their other four games. The Broncos had allowed 23.4 points through their first five games, which is pretty respectable, but Nevada hung 46 points and 462 yards in an offensive shootout in their last game. The Broncos have had extra time to prepare, though they got some bad news over the layoff that surgery will be required for top returning wide receiver Matt Miller. Shane Williams-Rhodes and others will have to step up in his absence and to give running back Jay Ajayi a blow. Ajayi has 173 touches through six games. There’s not going to be a lot of mileage left on him if that workload continues. The Broncos defense has some holes in pass coverage, but Fresno State is a good matchup for their defense.
Free Pick: Boise State -17
It doesn’t take a lot of money to move a line from 14.5 or 15 up to 17 because of the dead numbers in that range, but it’s a noteworthy move because that’s a big number to cover against a Bulldogs team that has looked better of late. The Broncos are averaging 483 yards per game on offense and the expectation is that the Bulldogs will struggle to keep up. The extra prep time for the Broncos could be helpful, though Harsin isn’t a guy that bettors have a lot of information on. This is the slightest of leans and a play on the over could be a better way to look given how Boise’s defense looked against Nevada.
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